That was the description given to me by a senior officer, with more than 30 years’ experience in the fire service, who I met at the incident control point late on Monday last week.

By then, he and scores of firefighters had been combating the fire since midday.

A strong wind pushed the fire rapidly eastwards, where it crossed the Bere Regis/Wareham road as if it didn’t exist.

More resources were called for and they duly arrived.

Little did firefighters know at this stage that they would succeed in preventing the fire from spreading by Wednesday morning, only for it to re-ignite on Thursday afternoon.

At its height, up to 200 firefighters from Dorset, neighbouring counties and beyond were on duty.

A long length of pipe laid from the River Piddle ensured a plentiful water supply to thirsty appliances.

This in itself was a massive exercise.

Welsh Forestry loaned a helicopter which proved invaluable, dropping 1000 litres of water at a time from an underslung scoop, enabling firefighters to get in close behind the extinguished flames.

As a former soldier, I was in awe at the calm, professional way that senior officers, like Craig Baker, Jim Mahoney, Andy Cole, Seth Why and others controlled the situation from their lorry-borne command post.

Their teams, working in shifts, had to repeatedly return to the scene as the situation and wind changed.

I would also like to express gratitude to Sarah Saunders and her fish ’n chip service, the Salvation Army and Devon and Somerset’s welfare pod, all of whom ensured exhausted crews were fed and watered.

Evidence strongly suggests that disposable barbecues were the source of the fire.

Over these past 11 days, I have witnessed courage and professionalism of the highest order.

It’s been truly humbling.